Birmingham's Oak Mountain State Park
A fat-tire dream destination 20 minutes south of Birmingham, this park has amenities for the whole family—a lakeside sandy beach, public showers, camping, canoe rentals, a bike wash, and an active trail-building bike club. Though most famous for the 20.5-mile Red Trail, recently named among the world's Epic Trails by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the park's new 7 miles of trails are beginner and intermediate, color-coded like ski slopes. The 3-mile Lake Trail (blue) offers spectacular lake views, and the 1-mile Family Trail (green) is not too hilly or rocky. (If our 3-year-old tester could handle it, so can you.)
The Magic City Cycle Chix, a new local club, hosts beginner women's rides on weekends. Join its Facebook group for updates on rides, sales, and social events. Experienced riders can join the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP) for group rides and a monthly night ride.
You'll Love It If...
You dig the outdoors, adventure, and adrenaline. Don't let those Mountain Dew ads scare you—mountain biking can be as breezy as a walk in the woods…with wheels. It does, however, require more balance and technical skill than road riding.
Rent a mountain bike at Cahaba Cycles on U.S. 31, less than 2 miles from the park entrance.